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Review: Copper Fox Peachwood American Single Malt

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Many craft distillers today are producing good (if young) whiskey. Unfortunately, too many are bringing nothing that’s really new to the market and asking a hefty premium over quality bottles from the bigger distilleries. It’s perhaps the biggest challenge of America’s craft whiskey movement: to create not just good whiskey but good whiskey that’s also unique.

Creativity is something not lacking at Copper Fox Distillery in Sperryville, Virginia. As an early East Coast pioneer of American single malt, its founder, Rick Wasmund, took lessons from Scottish tradition (they’re the first distillery in North America to install a malt floor and kiln) and combined them with completely original techniques like the use of different fruitwood smoke in their malt. The latest addition to their line-up, Peachwood American Single Malt, is perhaps their most unique endeavor to date, relying on peachwood as both a smoking medium during kiln drying and as a maturing catalyst inside the barrels. Surprisingly, much of the process behind the single malt is spelled out on the label, from the type of still used to the barrel entry proof to the ppm (parts per million) of Virginia peachwood smoke used in the malting. It’s clearly something different, but how does it taste?

On the nose, Peachwood American Single Malt is like a candied campfire. It’s sweet with a blend of toasted grain, ripe peach, and mesquite aromas. On the palate, the whisky showcases a great balance of sweet and savory with vanilla, clove, and citrus complemented by toasted oak, a briny smokiness, and gentle heat. The peachwood is less of a factor on the palate than on the nose, which is probably for the best, but it seems to have created some welcome, honeyed citrus notes not found in the distillery’s standard single malt offering. The finish is slightly drying, but still manages to carry those complex initial flavors for a decent length until they erode into smoke and caramel sweetness. It’s a well-made and extremely interesting single malt — and it’s just what the craft whiskey world could use a little more of.

96 proof.

A / $54 / copperfox.biz

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Drew Beard

Drew Beard is a contributor and social media editor for Drinkhacker.

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2 Comments

  1. MadMex February 18, 2018

    Amen, brother DB. Your first paragraph says it all. My man, what insight to put in words. I’ve tried a lot of craft, to much regret. Sure, they all have new multi-million dollar distilleries to pay for and payroll to make, but son of a bleep, for that premium $$$, much of their out-put stinks. In this case, bravo Copper Fox. I would love to try. More than anything, for me, it’s that support the mom and pop thing and bleep everything corporate that gets me to reach for craft. Like any good taco or sandwich shop, for get about Subway or Taco Bell, you bleeping numbskull, and look for that, locally owned, mom and pop, independent, often only one shop owned, and not a national chain to support, gosh-darn-it. My locally owned ‘Texas Brandy’ tastes like dish soap. In all things craft, sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose.

    Reply
  2. Drew Beard February 18, 2018

    Unfortunately, there’s a lot of dish soap out there, MADMEX, but I’m encouraged by craft distilleries like Copper Fox. Keep an open mind, try as many craft spirits as you can, and hopefully one day more of them will be worth the price!

    Reply

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